Coverage of Catalyze SV
In the Media
Here's coverage of Catalyze SV talking about our work in the community and in the media.
March 31, 2022: Silicon Valley Business Journal, "Latinx Leadership Awards 2022: A young generation stepped up to protect their community when development threatened to displace their way of life" (paywall)
“ 'I think any time a group of people who have not always been represented in the government or in the community, stand up and form and speak with one voice – that itself is a very powerful thing,' said Alex Shoor of local development advocacy group Catalyze SV, a coalition member supporting the vendors association ...
'That was a huge windfall in terms of vendor protections,' Shoor said. 'That happened in a short period of time after so long of nothing happening. People had basically resigned themselves to the loss of the market'.”
March 22, 2022: San Jose Spotlight, "UPDATE: Santa Clara County buys land for more affordable housing"
March 8, 2022: San Jose Spotlight, "San Jose sees barriers to building affordable housing"
March 1, 2022: San Jose Spotlight, "How is San Jose spending its Google money?"
February 26, 2022: Mercury News, "Next Stage of Development" (paywall)
"Community-based organization Catalyze SV was born just over five years ago in a San Jose living room, and now it’s receiving its second multi-year grant from the Knight Foundation to continue its work on engaging residents on planned development projects. The $249,080 investment over three years has allowed Catalyze SV to hire Rocio Molina as its community engagement manager, becoming the group’s second full-time staff member.
Catalyze SV has held 'community visioning workshops' on projects since 2018, and Molina will consult with other organizations to help them use those engagement strategies and create more productive conversations.
'Since day one, Catalyze SV has focused on getting more of the community involved in talking constructively about development,' said Alex Shoor, the group’s founder and executive director. “When we started, our focus was on advocating for more inclusive, collaborative community engagement. Now, we also have a business that functions as a consultancy to help achieve this goal".”
February 11, 2022: San Jose Spotlight, "Advocates push for more low-income housing in San Jose project"
February 4, 2022: San Jose Spotlight, "New state law yields no housing projects in San Jose—yet"
January 12, 2022: Silicon Valley Business Journal, "Catalyze SV Gives Failing Grade to Tower Project" (paywall, excerpt below)
"Of the scores it gave the project, its lowest — a 2 out of 5 — was for community. Catalyze blasted Urban Catalyst for not presenting to its members and for not showing "a commitment to engage with the larger community."
After reviewing the Apollo, Catalyze was left questioning why the developer was moving forward on it or other projects without community input, Shoor said.
'In a city as diverse as San Jose, this is a bad precedent and a bad practice,' Catalyze said on its scorecard."
January 3, 2022: San Jose Spotlight, "San Jose Flea Market payment opens door to vendors’ future"
December 28, 2021: SF YIMBY, "Approval + New Renderings For 605 South Second Street High-Rise, Downtown San Jose"
December 16, 2021: San Jose Spotlight, "After five years, San Jose’s Cambrian Village back on track"
December 12, 2021: San Jose Spotlight, "Regina Williams understands affordable housing in Silicon Valley"
November 26, 2021: San Jose Spotlight, "San Jose’s Cambrian Park Plaza inches toward redevelopment"
November 22, 2021: Mercury News, "‘The can gets kicked down the road’: Santa Clara Council struggling with meeting management" (paywall)
"Alex Shoor, the executive director of community engagement nonprofit Catalyze SV, believes the problem is two-fold: the council is dealing with a new makeup and dynamic with newly-elected members and there’s still an ongoing pandemic.
'Democracy was never a stopwatch with a set end time, yet with a dozen ways for elected officials to engage with their constituents at all hours, including via video from their own home, local government can now feel like a time loop in which we are all constantly interacting,' he said. 'Nonetheless, there remains a pretty clear time-honored truth — most humans don’t stay up to midnight, nor make the best decisions at that hour.'
Shoor said that meetings in cities across the region have been going longer, partially because remote meetings have encouraged participation through accessibility."
November 22, 2021: San Jose Spotlight, "San Jose mayoral candidate wants to upend state housing law"
November 16, 2021: Mercury News, "Santa Clara County Board gives thumbs up to healthcare expansion, affordable housing sites" (paywall)
"Alex Shoor, executive director of the advocacy and community engagement group Catalyze SV, said that the county’s approval of the two sites shows it is 'working well' with California’s goal of streamlining such projects. His one critique of the process, however, was that the developer working on the South Bascom Ave. project reduced the height of the proposed complex by one story after neighbors raised concerns, effectively slashing about 10 units. 'If the county is gonna invest all this money,' he said 'the county should get the most bang for its buck'.”
November 11, 2021: Silicon Valley Business Journal, "Community Impact Awards: Where workers get a slice of the action" (paywall)
"The New York native’s bent toward greater community good is reflected in both his public involvement and his own business. Vartan’s work on Agrihood led him to co-found CatalyzeSV, a grant- and membership-funded advocacy group that has been engaged by the cities of San Jose and Santa Clara to conduct community-engagement events to help the cities get residents’ feedback on prospective projects such as Google’s proposed Downtown West development in San Jose and the El Paseo de Saratoga redevelopment."
October 22, 2021: San Jose Spotlight, "San Jose Flea Market vendors upset with long-term rent option"
October 20, 2021: The Silicon Valley Voice, "El Camino Real Specific Plan Gets Changed Again"
September 9, 2021: San Jose Spotlight, "Panel supports idea to drop San Jose parking requirements"
August 6, 2021: Silicon Valley Business Journal, "Guest commentary: We’re losing our civic leaders, and it’s irrevocably injuring us" (paywall)
"How do we replace Mark & others’ civic investment and talent? We can’t. These leaders wanted to stay here, yet we couldn’t enable them to do so.
Some who left molded an organization I co-founded, Catalyze SV, to shape a more sustainable, vibrant and equitable Silicon Valley. They sought to make it easier for them and others to live here. Alas, our work isn’t working quickly enough. It’s as if right when Catalyze SV links with a new advocate, a different one breaks off, leaving town."
June 4, 2021: Mercury News, "$2 million deal offered for San Jose Flea Market vendors facing displacement" (paywall)
“The city and the Bumb family today are basically starting what Google started three years ago, so both parties need the time to get this right,” said Alex Shoor, executive director of Catalyze SV, a nonprofit that advocates for more community engagement in development.
June 4, 2021: San Jose Spotlight, "San Jose Flea Market vendors protest development plan"
May 25, 2021: San Francisco Chronicle, "Google's San Jose mega-campus wins city approval. Will it change Bay Area development?" (paywall)
“The precedent is incredibly important,” said Alex Shoor, executive director of public policy advocacy group Catalyze SV. “Our hope is that Google is the first, best example of the future of Silicon Valley workplaces.”
April 30, 2021: Silicon Valley Business Journal, "Updated plan for San Jose's Diridon Station Area advances to a final vote" (paywall)
Alex Shoor of Catalyze SV, a nonprofit that advocates for community engagement in development, said during the meeting that the need to house every San Jose resident is greater than the needs of individual homeowners.
"This is a place befitting of density for the next hundred years because it is near our downtown and because it is so close to transit," said Shoor, Catalyze SV's co-founder and executive director. "I beseech you to continue to put the needs of our city first by allowing taller buildings in places where they are most appropriate."
March 31, 2021: San Jose Inside/Metro, "New Urban Village Development Threatens to Displace San Jose’s 60-Year-Old Berryessa Flea"
March 26, 2021: San Jose Spotlight, "San Jose development leaves residents, local groups wanting more"
March 25, 2021: San Jose Spotlight, "San Jose commission delays decision on flea market development"
March 23, 2021: SF YIMBY, "San Jose Planning Commission Will Vote On Berryessa BART Urban Village Plan"
March 17, 2021: Silicon Valley Business Journal, "Owner of El Paseo de Saratoga replaces plans to build a school with extra residences and commercial space" (paywall)
"We're very happy to see Sand Hill be responsive to our members and other community members by including more homes on site instead of a school," said Alex Shoor, co-founder and executive director of Catalyze SV, in a Tuesday email. Catalyze SV is a local nonprofit that advocates for community engagement in development.
Last October, the organization gave the El Paseo project a score of 3.5 out of 5; for context, a score of 3.5 is required for Catalyze SV to consider supporting a proposed development. That number was based on an evaluation of its level of affordability, its density and its level of vibrancy, among other criteria. Catalyze SV has asked Sand Hill to provide it with an update of all the new elements in its El Paseo proposal, which may lead the nonprofit's members to re-score the project, Shoor said.
January 6, 2021: CreaTV San Jose's Valley Politics show, "Valley Politics January 2021 Catalyze SV, DANG and SV Rising Evaluate Google’s Downtown West Project"
December 10, 2020: San Jose Spotlight, "Google project won’t improve San Jose’s jobs-housing imbalance much, officials say"
December 7, 2020: Mercury News, "Google village in downtown San Jose gets high marks from key group"
October 9, 2020: Silicon Valley Business Journal, "Parking limits, new freeway interchange eyed for Market Park project in North San Jose"
Alex Shoor, executive director of Catalyze SV, a nonprofit that advocates for community engagement in development, said in a Wednesday email that if those spaces are primarily in new above-ground parking garages, policy organizations TransForm & SPUR estimate that they could cost the developer over a half-billion dollars to build. Catalyze SV co-authored a letter dated July 13 outlining 12 organizations' priorities for the development of the South Village, one of which was fewer parking spaces.
"Imagine how many more homes, jobs or other community benefits we could have if the developer greatly reduced the number of parking spaces," Shoor said. "Do we really want to build parking for nearly 11,000 new cars? Next to a new BART station? Next to a bike path & trail? Next to a major VTA bus depot? We can do better."
August 25, 2020: San Jose Spotlight, "Update: San Jose Advances High-tech Ideas to Connect Transportation Hubs"
July 31, 2020: Silicon Valley Business Journal, "Home on the Farm - Kind of"
Vartan is also the co-founder of Catalyze SV, a nonprofit that advocates for community engagement in development.
July 23, 2020: San Jose Spotlight, "San Jose Takes Pride in its Diversity but has no In-house Translators"
July 15, 2020: San Jose Spotlight, "Santa Clara Extends Agreement for Student and Workforce Housing Project"
July 14, 2020: Silicon Valley Business Journal, "More Housing, Less Parking, Please: A Dozen Organizations Call for Changes to San Jose's Largest Under-construction Project"
Alex Shoor, executive director at Catalyze SV, a nonprofit that advocates for community engagement in development, said in a Tuesday email that one reason Catalyze SV chose to co-author the letter at this time is that "we want to give the developer plenty of advance notice on our positions & plenty of time to initiate redesigns."
"When an array of local organizations ... come together and speak with one voice, that's a powerful message on what needs to be built," Shoor said. "We've got to be more forward-thinking than we've been in the past on development in Silicon Valley if we are going to thrive in the years ahead."
June 26, 2020: San Jose Inside/Metro, "Catalyze SV Celebrates San Jose’s Approval of Meridian Project"
June 25, 2020: The Mercury News, "400-square-foot ‘Micro apartments’ Coming to Downtown San Jose near Google Village"
June 23, 2020: San Jose Inside/Metro, "San Jose Poised to OK 226-Unit Mixed-Use Meridian Project"
June 18, 2020: Silicon Valley Business Journal, "Boomtown Berryessa"
June 16, 2020: Silicon Valley Business Journal, "Crane Watch: San Jose's Largest Under-Construction Project Gets an Update"
Some in the community, such as Alex Shoor, executive director at Catalyze SV, a nonprofit that advocates for community engagement in development, said they believe Market Park's southern half, dubbed the "South Village," can support a greater number of homes — up to 3,450 units — and more office space — up to 3.4 million square feet — than what's currently proposed.
One of the ways it could do so is by reducing the number of proposed parking spaces, Shoor said; between 7,960 and 14,250 spaces would be located in the South Village if its current plan is approved. "We don’t need endless cars parking, we need tons of people walking," he said. "Since most of the proposed parking spaces would be in parking garages, it’s important to think about how much money would be spent building parking spots instead of community benefits we can all enjoy."
June 9, 2020: San Jose Inside/Metro, "Op-Ed: Throughout the Pandemic, Government Can Still—and Better—Engage with Community"
June 4, 2020: Valley Politics on CreaTV San Jose, "San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo; Guest Questions; Remembering Bob Kieve" [our Executive Director Alex Shoor asks the Mayor a question at the 23-minute mark]
April 29, 2020: San Jose Spotlight, "San Jose Council Approves Big Affordable Housing Project in Willow Glen"
February 28, 2020: San Jose Spotlight, "Plans for San Jose’s El Paseo de Saratoga shift as residents weigh in"
February 12, 2020: The Mercury News, "365-unit affordable housing project to be built near San Jose’s Diridon Station"
January 22, 2020: San Jose Inside/Metro, "Catalyze SV Fights NIMBY Backlash by Forging Alliances Between Residents, Developers"
January 10, 2020: The Mercury News, "San Jose housing development planned near downtown includes no affordable units, limited parking"
December 12, 2019: Silicon Valley Business Journal, "Destination: Santa Clara"
July 25, 2019: San Jose Inside/Metro, "Catalyze SV Hires Alex Shoor as Its First-Ever Executive Director"
July 23, 2019: The Mercury News: "Catalyze SV Continues Growth"
July 9, 2019: San Jose Spotlight, "San Jose: Green Party candidate to challenge Councilwoman Dev Davis"
June 19, 2019: National Public Radio, "Google Pledges $1 Billion For Affordable Housing"
June 18, 2019: KQED, "Google Pledges $1 Billion to Help Fight Bay Area Housing Crisis It Helped Create"
June 7, 2019: CityLab, "The Largest Co-Housing Building in the World Is Coming to San Jose"
April 21, 2019: San Jose Spotlight, "San Jose leaders to mull improving public outreach on development"
April 8, 2019: San Jose Spotlight, "Providing food and child care: Ideas to boost civic engagement in San Jose"
April 2, 2019: CityLab, "How the Country’s Hottest Rental Market Is Trying to Cool Down"
January 31, 2019: Silicon Valley Business Journal, "Santa Clara approves 361-home development centered around urban farm"
January 30, 2019: San Jose Spotlight, "Santa Clara approves first-of-its-kind housing with urban farm"
January 30, 2019: The Mercury News, "Housing with a side of veggies: Unique development approved in Santa Clara"
November 7, 2018: The Mercury News, "Nearly 700 homes eyed near San Jose's Winchester Mystery House"
July 11, 2018: San Jose Inside, "CEQA Racket Extracts 11th Hour Payoffs Amidst Housing Crisis"
June 12, 2018: Palo Alto Daily Post, "50-Story Building Proposed in South Bay"
May 29, 2018: Diablo Magazine, "Generation Exodus"
May 3, 2018: Bay Area News Group, "Stripe gives $1 million to pro-development YIMBY group tackling Bay Area housing shortage"
January 26, 2018: Silicon Valley Business Journal, "Exclusive: Chinese developer to start studying 10.5 million-square-foot project for old Yahoo site"
"Kirk Vartan, co-founder at advocacy group Catalyze SV, on Tuesday asked city officials to move the proposal forward. Catalyze [SV] is a fairly new group aiming to connect city leaders, developers and the community early in the planning process for projects in Silicon Valley. The group says it would like to work with Kylli, the city and the community to plan for green building and design practices, local retailers and transportation options. 'I’m just amazed that this is happening here, Vartan said. 'This is an incredible opportunity that is being put in front of you'.”
December 21, 2017: San Jose Inside/Metro, "Knight Foundation Awards More than $1 Million in Grants to 11 Organizations in San Jose"
November 12, 2017: Bay Area News Group, "‘Homes for human beings’: Millennial-driven anti-NIMBY movement is winning with a simple message"
October 2017: Valley Politics, Episode #34.
September 20, 2017: Mercury News, "San Jose’s Stockton Avenue urban village gets neighbors’ nod"
June 14, 2017: Presentation at SPUR, "The YIMBYs Next Door"